Tuesday, May 3, 2011

T-Ball and The Law

Our condition is so desperate that it is not enough for God to forgive us.  He had to unzip us and get inside us or we would not be able to do what He has called us to do. 
- Paul David Tripp, Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands

"It's a nightmare!  I can't wait for the season to end",  my friend, a former NCAA baseball player and father of three, told me recently while relating his deep frustration with coaching his 4-year-old son's t-ball team.

"They're just not ready.  A 4-year-old cannot compute and play under all the rules in the game of baseball.   They must run only one way, in one direction, to one base and those fielding the ball have to throw only one direction in order to out the runner remembering to touch the bag after catching the ball.  It's too much!"

He went on to describe the kids' apathy that eventually comes from suffering so many rules when they just want to "play ball".  He told me that all those playing the field resort to day dreaming, using their mitts as masks or just picking their noses.

"Soccer", he says, "now there's a game a 4-year-old can understand - just kick the ball towards a goal. The only thing to remember is which goal is yours. Endless fun and no stress. I'm coaching soccer from now on!"

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3

It's not hard to imagine the inner confusion and chaos that so many rules bring to young minds just trying to have fun.   The Law has the same stifling effect on the minds of believers just trying to live in Him - even though God has called us His children (John 1:12-13).  The Law's undeniably wonderful primary use is to drive us to God's forgiveness made manifest in the cross of Christ.  

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. 
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
- Rom. 5:20

So often, however, we chooses to live under the weight of a burden of shame and guilt that we are unable to bear. The Law reminds me of a highway trooper's glasses wherein one can see his own reflection and consequently is brought face to face with the guilty party - himself.

Jesus has come and fulfilled the law that we might be set free from the devastating effects it can have on our hearts and minds.   Paul wrote to the Romans that for those who are in Christ "there is now no condemnation" (Rom. 8:1).

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father. - Rom:8:1 

Becoming like children, entering the kingdom of heaven not on our merit but on Christ's.  This is what frees us to joyfully play and express His redeeming, bondage-breaking power.  Those who are "heavy laden and burdened" (read: anyone who has truly felt the impact of God's Law)  need the rest that Christ alone offers (Matt 11:28).

The knowledge of the love we have been shown by God frees us from the weight of unmeetable expectation (Law) and allows us to respond to Him in true love and with the true love that has been so graciously shown to us (Grace).

We love because he first loved us. - 1st John 4:19

Grace experienced creates in us an eagerness to serve, love and pass on that which has been given to us - Grace, Peace and Truth.   Transformed by His grace, we can joyfully and confidently say, "put me in coach.  I'm ready to play!"

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time
- 1st Peter 1:3-5


This Week and Next:

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am Wednesday AM - Kings Cross Chapter 3
    2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

* The Magills - Mayor's Annual Prayer Breakfast - 7am - Thursday Morning
   Harvey Convention Center

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 12pm Monday @ Dakota's - Kings Cross Chapter 4
    5377 S. Broadway (back room on the left)

* Friday May 13th - The Magills at The Moore's Store, Ben Wheeler, TX - 7pm showtime


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